KEITH FOLLIN

(This statement was released Thursday by the Keith Follin, the Texas County emergency management director)

 I would like to take this opportunity to give everyone an update regarding flood recovery and potential funding. 

The governor has signed the request to declare a disaster, to send to the federal government. As I am writing this, a federal disaster has not yet been declared. There is no way to tell how long it will take to make the declaration.

There were a significant number of counties affected by the flood. Most of our floodwaters went to the St. Louis area, flooding them and it was expected to cause flooding in the Mississippi River.

FEMA and SEMA teams have made their way around to each county looking at damage from the flooding. We had two teams visit Texas County. One team was assessing damage to homes and businesses the other was assessing damage to county roads and bridges. This is only a preliminary step toward the disaster declaration.

If the teams did not make it to your home or business, please do not worry. If the disaster is declared, everyone who had any damage is eligible to apply for assistance. 

The townships have reported that all but a few roads have been made passable. Stillman Road is closed at a water crossing and has been barricaded. Panther Creek Road is also closed.

The townships are waiting for the declaration (if there is one) to move forward and make more permanent repairs and they are working within their fiscal means to keep roads passable and safe for travel. 

Farms and ranches can apply for assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The first thing they will probably ask is, “did you have insurance?” This does not necessarily disqualify you from assistance, but it is something to consider for the future.

Other businesses can use the SBA for assistance in getting cleaned up and/or restarting your business. They have a few programs to assist businesses after a disaster.

So, what do we do now?

First and foremost, document everything. Take pictures of damage, keep receipts of any items you purchase for cleaning or repairing your property. If you have volunteers come to assist you keep track of their names, what work they did, and how long they helped. 

If there is a disaster declared and if you are eligible to receive federal money, FEMA will only reimburse you to return your property to its original condition. Once you have everything documented start getting cleaned up and again keep track of any additional costs with the clean up (i.e. an extra trash pick up or dumpster, etc.)

As soon as we receive the notice of a disaster being declared we will get it out as wide as possible so that everyone knows what to do.

I know this is taking a long time to get done. If you are still in need of assistance with having a place to stay or need food, individuals can call 2-1-1 to make a request through the United Way. You can also use this website: http://dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub763.htm for further contact information. 

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